Tuesday marked the first day of summer. It means fun in the sand and surf, but with it often comes tragic stories about children drowning. But it’s not just in ground swimming pools and rip tides that are dangerous to young swimmers. Kiddie or inflatable pools, even with their limited amounts of water, are responsible for many of the season’s water related injuries. These pools are often bright colors and adorned with recognizable cartoon characters to attract young children, but their walls and supports are flimsy. With even a small amount of pressure they’ll bend or push downward. A child who runs up to a SpongeBob Square Pants pool and pushes on a picture of their favorite undersea friend can quickly have gallons of water dumped into his face and mouth. In some cases even a small amount can be deadly.
According to a new study, published in Pediatrics, there were 209 fatal drowning reported from 2001 through 2009 caused by portable, above ground pools. Most cases involved children younger than 5 years. When averaged together, this adds up to one toddler drowning death every five days during the summer months because of poorly supervised kiddie pools.
Not surprisingly, many of these deaths happened when the children were unattended, or when miscommunication between caregivers led to everyone assuming someone else was watching the children. Even when that confusion lasts only a matter of minutes, it can have deadly consequences. The same amount of time it takes to answer a phone call or check an email can be long enough for a child to drown.
In light of this information here’s a few safety tips to keep your child safe around water this summer. …